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Carpenter Ants or Termites – Which Do You Have?

In July 1861, the Confederate army won a solid victory in what is now known as Manassas National Battlefield Park. Today, a battle is still being fought in Manassas – though with much smaller armies. It’s the constant battle between homeowners and spring pests.

As with any battle, it’s important to know your enemy. In this post, we’ll help you identify the difference between two easily-confused spring pests: the carpenter ant and the termite.

The biggest difference is that carpenter ants are much more polite house guests, do less damage, and are less expensive to remove. But how can you tell which one you’re dealing with? Here are three significant differences to help you know for

1. Physical Differences

If you’re seeing swarms of tiny winged insects outside your house, take a closer look. Are all four wings the same size? If so, you’re looking at a swarm of termites. If one set of wings is larger than the other, you have carpenter ants. Other distinctions include antennae – termites’ antennae are straight, while carpenter ants’ are bent. When it comes to worker insects (those without wings), carpenter ants are red or black in color, and are often spotted in daylight. Termites, however, tend to avoid the sun and have a more milky, transparent appearance.

2. Galleries

Ants and termites are burrowing into your wood for entirely different reasons. The ravenous termites are simply filling their bellies and digging deeper and deeper with each bite, while the carpenter ants are carefully carving out nests in which to lay their eggs. The outside of a carpenter ant gallery, therefore, will usually have a small pile of wood shavings and be smoothly carved. A termite gallery will be ragged and filled with mud.

3. Types of Wood

When seeking out their nests, carpenter ants are looking for wood that is moist and damaged. This makes it easier for them to excavate and begin construction on their nests. Termites don’t discriminate – to them, wood is wood, and the healthiest, soundest wood is at risk when they’re around.

Carpenter ants are difficult to remove on your own, and termites are next to impossible. Don’t fight this battle alone. If you’re dealing with one of these wood-damaging spring pests, contact Green Pest Services today. We’ll help you identify, eradicate, and prevent future infestations so that you can enjoy the sweet taste of victory.